In defense of CNN and process journalism

Posted: September 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: journalism | Tags: , , , | View Comments

cnn_failBack in June, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch got into a bit of a spat with The New York Times’ Damon Darlin over an article disputing the trustworthiness of many popular blogs.

Arrington’s claims sparked an interesting discussion on “process journalism,” a technique that essentially boils down to telling the reader what you know and don’t know in almost real time.

Friday, as outrage grew over CNN’s reporting of a Coast Guard training exercise on the Potomac near the site of the president’s 9/11 anniversary speech, the Nieman Journalism Lab asked an interesting question on Twitter.

In tweeting “suspicious boat…shots fired,” @CNN was practicing what we call process journalism, right?

As a cynical, newspaper-trained journalist and the proud son of a retired Coast Guard master chief, my gut reaction was to flame CNN.

What ever happened to verification? Responsibility!? The truth!? Basic Journalism!?!?

But the lab’s question made me stop and think. Read the rest of this entry »